A character who will always think before acting, The Spock is an archetype that can be loosely summed up as the tendency to apply rules, reason and the greater good to all of his/her decisions. This character can exist by themselves, but more often, they will have a more emotional and humanistic counterpart
to contrast their decisions. The main difference between the two archetypes is that while The McCoy
will leap before looking, The Spock's solution to problems will have a balanced and well-thought out approach.
The Spock's relationship with his crewmates/comrades
is often tense, because this character type is willing and able to ruthlessly consider ethically troubling situations without batting an eye — especially situations where people might be ordered to die
. While his counterpart The McCoy
is interested in doing the right thing regardless of cost, The Spock is more interested in the end result. For him, everyone (including himself
) is expendable and he has no problem treating people as such.
The Spock maintains audience sympathy by being willing to Take a Third Option
and also by being as ruthless about his own life as the lives of his crewmates, if not more so. Even better, he is utterly unflappable
in the face of serious problems or danger; his friends know that no matter how terrifying or hopeless things get, he will never lose his cool
and will not stop working on a solution to save everyone.
When put in a Power Trio
with The Kirk
and The McCoy
, he becomes the superego in Id Superego And Ego
. The Spock will at times become a Tin Man
, though this varies with the writing, and will often have No Sense of Humor
. When he has emotion, he may sometimes express it with a Fascinating Eyebrow
and nothing more. Since Smart People Play Chess
, if The Spock plays a game, it will invariably be a variant of chess
Closely related to The Stoic
, Agent Scully
, Emotionless Girl
, and Little Miss Snarker
. Often becomes a Straw Vulcan
, but occasionally ends up on the winning side of Emotions vs. Stoicism
. Probably sides with the Enlightenment in Romanticism Versus Enlightenment
. Well Intentioned Extremists
often come across similarly when they believe they're working for the greater good. See also Spock Speak
He's likely to advocate Shoot the Dog
Named (obviously) for Spock from Star Trek
. Compare with their eternal opposite, The McCoy
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Anime and Manga
- "D" from Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure.
- Hoshino Ruri from Martian Successor Nadesico is both The Spock and a Little Miss Snarker.
- Nagato Yuki from Suzumiya Haruhi.
- Keith Anyan from Toward the Terra.
- Lumiere from Kiddy Grade.
- All Contractors in Darker Than Black are said to be like this; part of their condition is that they always act rationally and with their own best interests in mind, dismissing emotional attachments. Throughout the series several counter-examples are shown, to the degree that whether the statement is actually true is up for discussion.
- Inspector Lunge from Monster.
- He acts like The Spock, but it should be noted that, mainly due to his own Pride, he disregards mounting evidence of Johan's existence until it becomes overwhelming. A true Spock would have impartially re-evaluated evidence and circumstances as they changed and based his judgements purely on logic. Also, his big fight with Roberto shows that he does have an emotional Berserk Button, and while his handcuffing himself to Tenma after being badly wounded is admirably Badass, it could hardly be called a rational decision.
- Exedore/Exsedol from the Macross and Robotech universes, though he has his emotional moments, too.
- Fate from Mahou Sensei Negima! is a villainous version of this.
- Paul von Oberstein from Legend of the Galactic Heroes is a good example of this trope.
- L from Death Note is a surprisingly good one, too. There's a minor deviation in that he sometimes informs people of his emotions, even though he doesn't display them unless the situation's truly dire. Near also qualifies. Mello? Not at all...
- Ulquiorra from Bleach appears to be a villainous example of this trope- while his comrades generally act like children, he openly describes himself as an emotionless tool for Aizen to use as he pleases. The closest he ever comes to showing emotion are several cases where his eyes slightly widen and a single instance where he raises his voice.
- Wilhelmina in Shakugan no Shana. There was even an episode called "Heartless Wilhelmina".
- Sai from Naruto. He was raised in ROOT, which means he has no emotions whatsoever. Although he gets better at understanding them later when he joins team 7.
- Kyoya from Ouran High School Host Club. He deliberately crafts a hardened, purely logical exterior, and gets pretty annoyed/confused when people (Tamaki, Haruhi) see through it. He's the one really running the club and making all the real decisions - slightly subverted, though, in that nobody fights him on his decisions since he never has to make life or death choices.
- C. C. from Code Geass is a particularly snarky variant, at least while the cold side of her Sugar and Ice Personality is the one being shown. Far from being emotionless, she has very strong feelings, she is just able to keep them under control most of the time.
- Natarle in the Gundam Seed Power Trio.
- She would fire missiles at an ally Gundam, knowing its armor would survive the hit, for the chance of hitting the enemy.
- Rossiu of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, whose otherwise reasonable actions in an unreasonable setting makes him Wrong Genre Savvy and thus totally obsolete.
- Tieria Erde of Gundam 00.
- Dr. Kurama from Elfen Lied. His few moments of emotion only emphasize why he's so stoic.
- Rei Ayanami and Ritsuko Akagi of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
- Seto Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh!.
- Piccolo of Dragon Ball Z…sometimes. He first appears as a raving, cackling lunatic hell-bent on killing Goku (justified, as he has all his father's memories, and is only a few years old.) Then he mellows, is shown meditating in a lotus position, becomes an Anti-Hero, and voila. Also, he's arguably the most intelligent character on the show. Sometimes, though, he gets angry. Like if Gohan gets hurt. Then he goes from being The Spock to a Papa Wolf.
- Fuu Hououji of Magic Knight Rayearth is an unusual example. She is much more calm, observant, and thoughtful than Hikaru and Umi , but she also applies her logic to a strong sense of compassion and attempts to comfort her friends.
- Brainiac 5 of DC's Legion of Super-Heroes.
- Metron of the New Gods who was explicitly based on Spock.
- The Vision of Marvel's The Avengers. No wonder, he's a robot after all. Partially averted on times, Depending on the Writer: he may show human emotions to a high or low extension, or lack them completely.
- Dr. Manhattan of Watchmen, who is referred to as "goddamn Mr Spock there" by a minor character at a cocktail party.
- Taken to epic levels in Final Crisis: Superman Beyond with the Composite Character Captain Allen Adam, A.K.A. the Quantum Superman of Earth 4, who is a meshing of the Good Doctor with the original Captain Atom. Even when on heavy drugs to keep his quantum senses in check he's capable of feats of extreme mental prowess, and after his drugs fade off he attains a state of nigh-omniscience and arranges the activation of the Cosmic Armor that saves all of reality from an Eldritch Abomination that eats stories. Only The Spock can stay calm and babble about the organic nature of The Multiverse while the Ultimate Evil emerges.
- Prowl in the original Transformers series, more so in the comic (which is why it's here). Shockwave, too, though he's a villain.
- Skalman in Bamse is almost an example, but he is usually even less likely to suggest a course of action that seems unethical - in fact, it is sometimes shown that being logical and thinking things through allows him to do the opposite.
- James-Michael of Omega The Unknown, due to his being raised by robot protectors.
- Linus often performs this function for Charlie Brown in Peanuts. Likewise Schroeder to Lucy (and occasionally Charlie).
- The Treen of Dan Dare are completely emotionless and driven by logic. Sondar, a good Treen, is capable of feeling emotion, but still approaches problems logically.
- Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality: Harry is too young and emotional to be The Spock, but he sees it as an ideal, and always tries to ignore his emotions and make decisions based on pure logic. Occasionally a bit of a deconstruction, as his "purely rational" decisions often come across as cold or even cruel, and may be leading him to become a dark lord. For Example, when he rationalizes that killing a unicorn to extend Quirrel's life is no worse than killing a cow to eat, even though his gut instinct tells him not to.
- Reservoir Dogs - Mr Pink is the most logical of all the crew, especially when he acts as the foil to Mr White. The first scene shows him refusing to throw in money to tip the waitress, giving his reason as to why. He is later distrustful of everyone, and disgusted that Mr White gave Mr Orange his real name and hometown, considering anybody, even the dying Mr Orange, could be the rat. Not only is he right about everything, but he is the only character to survive the film. Subverted in that Mr. Pink is anything but cool—he's both logical and wildly neurotic.
- Dr. Egon Spengler from Ghostbusters. In the sequel, he says that his parents did not believe in toys and he seems to be nigh-immune to the mood slime which makes the two most "positive" Ghostbusters try to kill each other. In the commentary for the original film, Harold Ramis notes that he deliberately played Egon as a Spock-like character. He also notes that there is only one scene where he actually shows emotion, when Walter Peck tries to have the Ghostbusters arrested for an explosion that he caused himself.
- Juror #4 (the stockbroker with wire rim glasses) from 12 Angry Men.
- Sunshine. When the crew out to save the sun (and the world) are down to five members and their oxygen supply is cut, they realize they only have enough oxygen for four people to make a return trip. Michelle Yeoh doesn't bat an eyelid in suggesting they murder one of their own (whom happened to be already wracked with guilt for a mistake that led them into this predicament in the first place) instead of all five of them dying from lack of oxygen, and it didn't take much convincing for two other crew members to accept the idea.
- The Avengers: Iron Man fits The Kirk, and Captain America fits The McCoy. Black Widow being the most calculating and logical of the group would fit The Spock.
- Although in terms of Iron Man and Captain America alone, these two show a different dynamic with Steve being The Spock. He is the tactician of the team and less of an ideological hero than he was in his own movie, while Tony is clearly dismayed at how calm he is following Coulson's death and has a moment where he wins Bruce over through sheer compassion.
- Ivan of The Brothers Karamazov.
- Elinor Dashwood, the protagonist of Sense and Sensibility, in contrast to her sister Marianne. Possibly the Trope Maker, considering this is one of the first known intentional uses of it (Austen intended the sisters' Emotions Versus Stoicism to be a metaphor for Romanticism Versus Enlightenment). Also one of the few examples where The Spock is right, and The McCoy has to learn to be more reserved rather than the other way around.
- Death in the Discworld series. Is attempting to understand the human race, but is finding it...difficult. At times he seems to know a bit more about human nature than he lets on though, so maybe it's just an act.
- Voort "Piggy" saBinring from Wraith Squadron. He's a Pig Man from a species more known for violent aggression and stupidity, but brain tampering made him into a Genius Bruiser, Good with Numbers and tending to be logical and calm. We see a bestial side exactly once, and it takes getting gut-shot to bring it out. Sort of similar to Vulcans, who practice emotional suppression precisely because their emotions are so violent and difficult to control compared with other species.
- The Mentats in the Dune series.
- Michael Valentine Smith from Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. He is capable of feeling overwhelming emotion, but when he does, he simply slips into a coma until he's found a way to logically respond to the situation. As a human raised on Mars, it takes him quite a while to understand laughter, grief, fear and loss - his only emotions at the start of the book are curiosity and love.
- C.S Forester is fond of this. The captains in The Good Shepherd and The Captain from Connecticut were very extreme Spocks. Horatio Hornblower was a slightly more mild version but still something of a Spock.
- Asher in Someone Else's War.
- Mab of The Dresden Files, to the extreme, in contrast with her sister Titania, who is The McCoy. Mab is utterly ruthless and pragmatic in pursuit of her goals of protecting reality from the Outsiders.
- Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes is the Ur Example. Mycroft could be seen as this, too.
- Interestingly, in "The Three Garridebs" when his best friend is wounded, he's more emotional, concerned, and worried. As in, he can't believe something happened to him. At all. Though, he looks like The Spock when he threatens death on Evans, though he's more McCoy-ish.
Live Action TV
- Alchemical Exalted have a trait called "Clarity" that tracks how much of this personality they accumulate; as they grow in Clarity, they become increasingly focused on pragmatic and efficient solutions and will place lower priority on compassionate activity, at the cost of becoming increasingly less emotional and having difficulty relating to other people (they also have some Charms that can harness Clarity to grant increased cognitive ability). Clarity is reduced by prolonged meaningful interaction with normal human beings (or, in the case of some Alchemicals, immersion in memories from their past lives).
- Among the Primarchs of Warhammer 40,000, there was Ferrus Manus on the Imperial side and Perturabo among the traitors. Both tended to be the most dispassionate and calculating Primarchs, and their Legions followed suit - although Perturabo's claim is a little weakened by his towering resentment and susceptibility to brief spasms of uncontrollable fury.
- Adeptus Mechanicus supporting character tends to be this to whatever Inquisitor, Space Marine or Imperial Guard protagonist they follow around, especially if they have had the cybernetic surgical procedures of Clear Thoughts, excising the parts of their brains capable of emotions.
- A rare main character example: Brutus from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, with either Cassius or Antony as The McCoy. A quiet, (literally) stoic, cool-headed intellectual who is a friend of Caesar's but is willing to do him in since, to quote the Trope Namer, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. ("Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more!")
- In Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida: Ulysses on the Greek side, with Agamemnon as The Kirk and Ajax as a fairly thickheaded variation on The McCoy. On the Trojan side, Hector fills this role, to Priam as Kirk and Troilus as The McCoy
- In Romeo and Juliet, Benvolio is this to Romeo, with Mercutio as The McCoy.
- Sasha Nein of Psychonauts.
- Gale, in Digital Devil Saga.
- Naoto Shirogane in Persona 4
- Soren in Fire Emblem Tellius.
- Kratos Aurion in Tales of Symphonia.
- KOS-MOS in the first Xenosaga, but she starts to defrost.
- ADA in Zone of the Enders. Why waste time and put yourself at risk saving innocent civilians when you could just hurry up and get the war-changing mech Jehuty to its destination?
- Mass Effect 2:
- Mordin Solus, though Hidden Depths reveal that he's way more compassionate than he lets on and feels incredible regret for his Well-Intentioned Extremist moment (though he feels it's still the right choice).
- The Ruthless background Shepard also qualifies, doing whatever it takes to get the job done, no matter how horrific, and usually in the middle of the action himself—the military's go-to guy for the most vital and most morally compromising missions. The Renegade morality path also comes off as this in all the major decisions and in many of the conversations (with the rest of the time consisting of being a hardass, and in some instances in the first game, a bit of a xenophobe as well)
- Squall of Final Fantasy VIII is a rare main character version. Raised as a mercenary, he's cynical about how the world works and tries to act solely according to duty rather than emotion. For the first portion of the game he seems like a lone Spock in a team of McCoys, but much of his Character Development is him learning how to healthily feel and express his emotions rather than acting like an automaton until he blows a gasket over, say, the execution of someone he knew from childhood.
- Stern, the Material of Wisdom in the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As Portable games. Funnily enough, this made her the kindest one amongst the Materials and the first one to make a Heel-Face Turn away from their Omnicidal Maniac side since she came to the logical conclusion that mindlessly destroying everything is stupid.
- Jade Curtiss of Tales of the Abyss, despite his Stepford Smiler outward persona, fits this trope when it comes down to actual decision-making. It's a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming the one time that he does admit he'd rather not do the most coldly logical thing, which would be to ask Luke to sacrifice himself rather than Asch.
- Jusqua of Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light thinks that he's this. When Horne is petrified, he doesn't go with Brandt and Yunita because they can find a way to lift the curse. Later, he faces up to the fact that he was actually being immature by snarking at them when he himself was unwilling to try anything he thought he'd fail at.
- Dangan Ronpa has Kirigiri, who is coldly aloof, calculating, and emotionless. Celes is one as well, what with her saying they should abandon all attachment to the outside world and just accept their fate living in Hope's Peak. Togami is a milder, crueler version.
- Chou Yaru in Unicorn Jelly.
- Vaarsuvius from The Order of the Stick tries to be this in order to become more effective and overcome a great obstacle, but seeing as how the elf is anything but emotionless and is in fact haunted by the memory of a great failure, the result is disastrous.
- Theo from Gold Coin Comics is like this...usually.
- Zombie/Narrator/.../whatever you want to call him plays this pretty straight in Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name
- Quinn-Tain in Harkovast bases his decision only on what he thinks is necessary to win the war. Emotional concerns are always secondary.
- Mr. Raven in El Goonish Shive.
- The AI Delta from Red vs. Blue is logic personified. Literally. Ironically, Delta is probably the most humane of the various Freelancer AIs, despite his noticeably incomplete understanding of human nature.
- In the ''Global Guardians, Achilles is the The Spock, and is also the team leader. Guardsman is The Kirk, while Arachne and Ultra-Man are The McCoy.
- Lady Ink from The Book of Stories OCT. Of course, she is a personification of order and structure, so it makes sense.
- Dr. Gears of the SCP Foundation
- Dr. Herman Kahn. His works in the 1950s on nuclear war examine the aftermath in extremely dry terms. He was considered a sort of monster by some to actually argue that, while extremely horrible, a nuclear holocaust would not be the end of humanity.
- Within the Power Trio of the Allied leadership of World War II, Josef Stalin played the Spock to FDR's Kirk and Winston Churchill's McCoy. When you're a dictator who sees himself as just doing what it takes to ensure your country's survival (occasionally even half-admitting being Necessarily Evil), it sort of comes with the territory.
- Admiral Raymond Spruance, especially when compared to his Red Oni Admiral Halsey's tendency to pull the Leeroy Jenkins.
- INTPs are stereotypically like this. INTJs, too. "Does it work?"
- Has a pretty firm footing in alexithymia.
- By his own admission, Israel's current Defense Minister and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak. He and everyone around him quite frankly states that Barak's mind is like a steel trap: remorselessly methodical and logical, remembering everything, and expecting everyone to be just as logical as he. Barak, however, does have the humanity to admit that this is something of a double-edged sword: his logical method blinded him to the emotions of others, particularly the Palestinian and Syrian diplomats he tried to negotiate with at Camp David in 2000. This insensitivity—again by his own admission—probably cost him the deal of the century.
- The leopard, in comparison to other big cats. Lacking the teamwork of lions or the raw strength of tigers, leopards rely on a combination of cunning, versatility, and calculated risk to survive. They are opportunistic hunters that carefully judge their prey before attacking, and actively avoid confrontation with stronger competing species.